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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a news writer for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett and interned at The L Magazine. At New York University she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, The Washington Square News. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

More Americans said they'd support a 20-week ban on abortions rather than current law's 24-week benchmark even as they oppose burdensome restrictions on abortion providers, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Thursday.

Of those surveyed, 56 percent said they would rather have abortions "legal without restriction" up to 20 weeks compared to 27 percent who would rather have unrestricted abortions up to 24 weeks, which is the general period allowed under the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.

The poll found that more Americans oppose state measures that make it difficult for abortion clinics to run, however, by a margin of 54 percent to 45 percent.

The poll accompanies a slew of Republican-supported abortion legislation recently passed in states like Texas, North Carolina and Wisconsin that tackle both 20-week abortion bans and operating standards for abortion providers.

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem gave her opinion Wednesday on Huma Abedin's defense of her husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D), in the face of new allegations that he participated in sexually illicit chats on the internet.

“I have no way of knowing whether Huma, for whom I have great respect, is responding out of new motherhood, the Stockholm syndrome or a mystery,” Steinem wrote the New York Times in an e-mail.

Steinem's criticism was directed at Weiner, however: “I strongly object to holding one spouse responsible for the other’s acts,” she wrote. “He’s the one who should get out of the race.”

Steinem had previously endorsed Weiner's opponent in the New York City mayoral race, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced Thursday that he'll be running for a seat in the Australian Senate later this year under the banner of his newly inaugurated WikiLeaks Party, the New York Times reported.

“My plans are to essentially parachute in a crack troop of investigative journalists into the Senate and to do what we have done with WikiLeaks, in holding banks and government and intelligence agencies to account,” Assange told the Times in a phone interview.

Assange said he's confident he'll be able to campaign out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has taken asylum for the past year in order to avoid extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations.

“There is, of course, some possibility that the Australian Senate would permit remote involvement. It’s never been done before, but it is theoretically possible,” Assange said of Australia's law requiring him to take up the Senate seat within a year if elected. “But in any event we have candidates available to hold the seat until such time as I am available to take it.”

The Pentagon on Wednesday halted the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt as President Barack Obama seeks to impress on the Egyptian military that the United States is unhappy with its handling of the political turmoil in that country, the New York Times reported.

“Given the current situation in Egypt, we do not believe it is appropriate to move forward at this time with the delivery of F-16s,” said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little, as quoted by the Times.

"We’ve been very clear with the military: we understand this is a difficult situation but we want things to get back on track,” an anonymous White House official told the Times, while an unnamed Pentagon official described the move as an "inside fastball."

Following the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi, U.S. officials had said they did not plan to change the fighter jet shipment.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday praised the Senate's passage of a bill to roll back an interest rate hike on federal student loans that went into effect July 1st when Congress had deadlocked on the issue.

"This compromise is a major victory for our nation’s students," Obama said in a statement. "It meets the key principles I laid out from the start: it locks in low rates next year, and it doesn’t overcharge students to pay down the deficit.  I urge the House to pass this bill so that I can sign it into law right away, and I hope both parties build on this progress by taking even more steps to bring down soaring costs and keep a good education – a cornerstone of what it means to be middle class – within reach for working families."

Jenny Sanford, the ex-wife of former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R), had some kind words Wednesday for Huma Abedin in the midst of new allegations that Abedin's husband, New York City mayoral candidate and former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D), sent illicit chats to women on the internet. 

“As a person and as a woman and as a wife, I’ve been through the painful reality of marriage with a troubled individual and having it in the press. My heart goes out to her,” Sanford told the Washington Post.

Sanford's ex-husband experienced the kind of political redemption Weiner is seeking when he won a South Carolina special congressional election in May. Mark Sanford resisted calls to resign from the governor's post after admitting having an affair with an Argentine woman in 2009. He finished out his term in 2011.

Correction: This post has been updated to show that Mark Sanford did not resign the governor's office in 2009. He served out the remainder of his term and left the office in 2011.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) continued to stand firm behind his remarks on undocumented immigrants acting as drug mules in an interview with Breitbart News Wednesday, arguing that the backlash against him suggests his anti-amnesty views are winning the ideological fight on immigration reform.

“You know when people attack you—in this business, when you’re in this business, you know that when people attack you, and they call you names, they’re diverting from the topic matter,” King told Breitbart. “You know they’ve lost the debate when they do that. We’ve talked about it for years. Tom Tancredo and I joked about it that that’s the pattern. When people start calling you names, that’s what confirms you’ve won the debate.”

A bevy of prominent Republicans have condemned his comments, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID).

"When I read their quotes, I have to believe they didn’t read mine,” King told Breitbart of his colleagues' criticism. “They completely missed the mark. I don’t yet know of anyone who has raised a logical argument against my statement.”

In his speech on the economy Wednesday in Galesburg, Ill., President Barack Obama vowed to put his platform to use to defray soaring education costs and invest in early childhood education in order to strengthen the middle class.

"If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much ignorance costs in the 21st century," Obama said. "If we don’t make this investment, we're going to put our kids, our workers, and our country at a competitive disadvantage for decades. So we have to begin in the earliest years, and that’s why I’ll keep pushing to make high-quality preschool available to every four year-old in America."

"I'm also going to use the power of my office over the next few months to highlight a topic that's straining the budgets of just about every American family and that's the soaring cost of higher education," he added. "Everybody's touched by this, including your president who had a whole bunch of loans he had to pay off." 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) criticized President Obama's speech on the economy Wednesday even before it happened, calling the remarks "a hollow shell" and "an Easter egg with no candy in it."

"The White House says it's not expected to say anything new, there are no new proposals in this speech. The president himself said it isn't going to change any minds," Boehner said to his colleagues from the House floor. "So what exactly will change? What's the point? What's it going to accomplish?"

"You probably got the answer. Nothing," he continued. "It's a hollow shell. It's an Easter egg with no candy in it."

Watch Boehner's comments below, courtesy of CBS News: 

The conservative Club for Growth's PAC released a statement Wednesday expressing its interest in the fledgling campaign of Matt Bevin, a Kentucky businessman and primary challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

“The Club for Growth PAC met with Matt Bevin many months ago, and we’d like to hear more about his candidacy and the differences between him and Senator McConnell on the issues,” the group's President Chris Chocola said in the statement.

Bevin is expected to formally announce his candidacy Wednesday, while McConnell took a preemptive hit at his challenger with an ad labelling the businessman "Bailout Bevin."

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